Ralf Henggeler took the chequered flag to complete 641 laps of the 4.652km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve and keep the Swiss team on top in both the 24H SERIES Europe and 24H SERIES Continents standings in the TCE division.
It was a solid run for the team, albeit one that could have ended very differently heading into the closing stages…
“We had a problem with the gearbox in the last two hours, so we were really lucky to survive!” Ralf Henggeler explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley’s. “But my teammates did a great job, the whole team worked really hard, and it’s my first win in the 24H SERIES, so I’m really happy with this result!”
Behind the race winners, the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stephane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / James Kaye / Sam Dejonghe) took its third podium finish of the year in 2nd, despite losing a wheel on-track inside the final two hours of the race.
The TCR-class is completed by the Nordschleife Racing Peugeot 308 Racing Cup TCR (#172, Guillaume Roman / Michel Derue / Michel Sallenbach / Thierry Boyer), although the formerly named Team Altran Peugeot suffered two separate fuel pump failure inside the final 40 minutes, ending the outfit’s chances of an outright TCE podium.
Incredibly, this meant the Synchro Motorsport Honda FK8-Civic Type-R (#676, Alyn James / Daniel Wheeler / Martin Byford) came through to secure the A3-class win and claim the final step of the outright TCE podium with just two minutes of the race left to run.
“It’s amazing!” Alyn James explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “We’re not a factory team, we build this car ourselves, and for what we’ve done to be in this position, it feels really special.”
The Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101, Luc Breukers / Klaus Kresnik / Nuno Corvo / Henry Littig) has been classified 5th in TCE. Although a contender for outright victory in the early going, the CUPRA twice suffered suspension failure before ending its race with a high-speed shunt into the barriers at turn one. Early runaway leaders, TOPCAR sport by Bas Koeten Racing (#131, Ronny Jost / Julien Apotheloz / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Antti Buri) were forced to retire just after half-distance when the CUPRA TCR DSG suffered engine failure.
After losing more than five hours replacing a turbo in the early stages of the race, the Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport BMW M240i Racing Cup (#869, Martin Kroll / Nicole Holzer / Axel Burghardt / Michael Bonk / Markus Fischer) recovered to be classified 2nd in the A3 class and 6th overall in TCE
24H SERIES powered by Hankook endurance racing action continues in less than two months at the 2019 Hankook 24H BARCELONA on 30-31 August – 1 September. In a format unique to the 24H SERIES, the Spanish event will host the fifth round of the 2019 24H SERIES Europe and will also be an eligible points-paying race for the 2019 24H SERIES Continents. Two months later, the 24H SERIES heads to Austin, Texas, for the third annual Hankook 24H COTA USA at the Circuit of the Americas. Further information on this year’s calendar can be found at www.24hseries.com.